Sefton, West Lancs & Liverpool – Old railway photos in the locality – Maghull

Maghull Signal Box in 1968

I’m delighted to have the permission of Antony Graham to use his historic railway photos in my blog postings about railway matters in the locality of the heading of this posting. I hope you’ll enjoy the photos and stories surrounding them over the coming months…..

I’m starting off with a location which is very well known to me as I lived in Maghull for 33 years and was involved in the campaign to try to save the former Maghull Signal Box from demolition in 1993/4 whilst I was Mayor of the Town.

The Signal Box in 1993 – It closed in February 1994.

And here’s a write-up that Anthony published with the lead photo on his Flickr page which details the history of the Signal Box:-

‘Constructed in 1875, the box was opened in 1876, being inspected on 15th May of that year, and was a Saxby & Farmer type 7 structure with a 19 lever Saxby & Farmer 1874-pattern Rocker & Gridiron frame. A gate wheel was also provided. The box initially controlled the level crossing, a crossover and connections to a down refuge siding and up goods yard. In 1884 a ground frame was added to control an additional connection from the up main to the up goods yard, this was bolt-locked from Maghull box. On 16th November 1896 the lever frame was relocked with L&Y tappets, a new L&Y gate wheel was probably added at the same time. On 29th June 1909 a new, 28 lever, L&Y frame was installed and a second crossover was installed north of the station, for the new EMU service to turn back. A new up bay platform was added and a railmotor service, that had previously run from Aintree to Ormskirk, now started from Maghull, connecting with EMU services to and from Liverpool. In 1911 the railmotors moved to start/terminate from Town Green, when electrification reached that station, full electrified services reaching Ormskirk in 1913. It is not known if the up bay platform was used after 1911, but the connection to it was not disconnected until 13th September 1942. The ground frame and its connection to the up goods yard were removed between 1949 and 1952. The down refuge siding was disconnected on 15th December 1963 and disconnection of the up goods yard took place on 18th June 1964. On 18th June 1967 the north end crossover was also disconnected. Manned Controlled Barriers replaced the level crossing gates on 31st July 1977, the gate wheel being replaced by a barrier pedestal. The box closed on 10th February 1994. There are no surviving Saxby & Farmer type 7 signal boxes.’

And here are some inside shots of the Signal Box:-

Maghull Box Interior 1969 Signalman Frank McLoughlin

Maghull Box interior 1969

Maghull Box Interior 1976 – Relief Signalman Stan Parker

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Maghull’s lost signal box – I’ll return in future postings to other railway locations which Anthony photographed in the area. But to close, my own photo of the last track plan for Maghull Signal Box which is presently displayed within the permanent Frank Hornby Experience exhibition within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre & Library:-

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Frank Hornby’s Meccano Factory products – Liverpool on Wheels

This is the last of my postings regarding the quite excellent new exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool which is presently inaccessible due to our health crisis of course.

Anything to do with Hornby and the products of his Binns Road factory interest me as a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust so of course the section of the Liverpool on Wheels exhibition was always going to draw me to it. Here are my photos:-

Like the Museum of Liverpool the Frank Hornby Experience exhibition (within Meadows Leisure Centre) in his home town of Maghull is also presently closed but hopefully both will be accessible when we come out the other side of this dreadful health crisis. I’m guessing that the period the Liverpool on Wheels exhibition will be open could be extended? It’s presently due to close on 1st November………

My congratulations to Sharon Brown (Curator of Land Transport at NML) and her colleagues for an excellent exhibition.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Frank Hornby wins Borough of Culture local poll

MySefton has the article on its website – see link below:-

mysefton.co.uk/2020/01/27/hornbys-in-the-driving-seat-for-the-sefton-stories-project/

Quote from MYSefton website – ‘Frank Hornby has steamed ahead, reinvented himself and engineered top spot in the Sefton Stories Project launched as part of Sefton’s Borough of Culture year!

The inventor from Maghull, topped the list of 10 stories synonymous with Sefton, by claiming 28% of the total vote.’

A great piece of model Meccano engineering

Obviously the Trustees (I’m one of them) of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust who run the Frank Hornby Experience exhibition within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Centre and Library are delighted by the result of the poll of local people. Maghull, as demonstrated previously by one of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys TV programmes being filmed in the Town, is becoming well known for having a world famous toy maker as it’s most famous former resident.

2019 in 12 postings – And what a sad year for progressives

2019 must go down in politics as a really sad year for anyone who describes themselves as a progressive. That the UK has become more isolationist and racist is regretfully a given but for me as a passionate internationalist our frankly bizarre decision to become at best semi-detached from our European neighbours both economically and politically is profoundly depressing. I’m reminded of the play ‘Brick up the Mersey Tunnel’ as 2019 could easily be the start of us, at least in the abstract, bricking up the Channel Tunnel.

Anyway here’s my year; some big issues, some matters close to my heart and some personal reflections:-

January – Elected Mayors – too many and too costly tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/01/20/metro-mayor-tax-another-call-on-your-pocket/

February – Why we have a housing crisis on our hands tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/02/20/council-housing-social-housing-housing-associations-whats-gone-wrong-and-why-we-have-a-housing-crisis-on-our-hands/

March – HS2 the Brexit of the railway world tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/03/16/being-anti-hs2-is-a-bit-like-brexit-its-all-about-the-rose-tinted-past/

April – Rotten Boroughstonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/04/23/local-elections-are-rotten-boroughs-creeping-back-into-out-creaking-democracy/

As an aside I still remember a remark made to me on the day that I became Leader of Sefton Council in 2004. It was in the form of a question to me along the lines of ‘what’s the most important thing for the Leader of Sefton Council to do? Answer – Keep the Council out of the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ page of Private Eye!

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV.

May – Time to celebrate in 2020 – 100 years of Hornby ‘O’ Gauge trains tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/05/27/maghull-2020-will-be-100-years-since-the-towns-most-famous-resident-brought-his-o-gauge-trains-to-the-market/

June – Still getting the local housing market wrong! tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/06/22/sefton-council-draft-strategic-housing-market-assessment-update-2019/

I realise that the link within the article no longer works

July – Co-option is not democratic, just stop it tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/07/14/melling-theres-a-price-to-pay-for-democracy-but-surely-its-better-than-co-option/

August – Air conditioning in shops and cafes an environmental disaster tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/26/supermarkets-cafes-shops-turn-down-or-even-better-turn-off-your-air-conditioning-shut-that-fridge-door/

September – A look back at New Heartlands in Bootle tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/09/04/bootle-newheartlands-pathfinder-housing-initiative-a-look-back/

October – The late great Isaac Hayes with Donald Byrd tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/10/25/isaac-hayes-the-master-jointly-cut-a-track-id-missed-back-in-1981/

Norman Lamb

November – Norman tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/11/06/norman/

December – Tactical voting (by progressives) did not work tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/12/16/why-peoples-vote-and-other-tackical-voting-orgs-sites-got-so-much-wrong/

So that, for me, was 2019 – a year when housing policy/practice remained far removed from the reality of our housing crisis, when the very real crisis of climate change took a back seat to the made up crisis of Brexit and when the crisis within progressive politics was exposed as much by our warped electoral system as by the lack of leadership from progressives. A year to forget unless of course you back the politics of the right and far right…….

Sefton’s Borough of Culture – Vote for Frank Hornby!

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV.

You may have heard of Sefton’s Borough of Culture year in 2020 but did you know that you can influence the things that are celebrated locally? Well you can via the MYSefton website – see link below:-

mysefton.co.uk/2019/12/05/vote-now-celebrate-seftons-most-famous-figures-in-2020/

As a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust I’d like folk to back the Hornby choice – see link below where you can vote:-

mysefton.co.uk/2019/11/24/sefton-stories/

With thanks to Frank Sharp for the lead to this posting

Liverpool – The sad end of the Binns Road Meccano Factory

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/how-liverpools-meccano-workers-were-17323473

This fascinating story of the last days of the Meccano Factory is a significant part of the recent history of Liverpool.

The Frank Hornby Trust was set up a few years ago to celebrate the life, work and products of world famous toy maker Frank Hornby. He lived for most of his adult life in Maghull on Merseyside in two houses – The Hollies on Station Road and Quarry Brook which is now the 6th Form building of Maricourt High School. The first English Heritage Blue Plaque erected outside of London was placed on The Hollies at the request of Maghull Town Council, who then put a plaque of their own on Quarry Brook.

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV.

The Frank Hornby Experience is Maghull’s very own museum showing many Meccano factory products. It’s located within Meadows Leisure Centre on Hall Lane in Maghull and is accessible, free of charge, whenever Maghull Library is open. The Frank Hornby Experience is curated by trustees of the Frank Hornby Trust.

So whilst the loss of the Meccano factory was keenly felt back some 40 years ago the Frank Hornby Trust has done what it can to ensure that Maghull’s most famous resident and his products (and the products of his successor companies) are on display for present and indeed future generations to admire.